Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Oh Peter


How I see myself in him. Last year at this time I was much like Peter when he saw the Lord walking on the water. The storm was all around him and while the other disciples stayed in the boat it was Peter who asked the Lord if he could come. Jesus answered him with "come".

 I wonder how many steps Peter took before the wind and the storm got the better of him.  I'd like to think that if it would have been me in that boat, that I would have walked boldly into the arms of Jesus. My life so far tells me different. Many times I have run to Jesus and found comfort and peace in His word. Only to see it slip away as I look at the circumstances in my life. Just like Peter, walking in faith until he saw the waves and felt the power of the wind. Yes, I've learned from Peter. He began to sink and while fear had a grip on him he called out to Jesus "Lord save me!" I've  done the same and each time felt the arms of my savior lift me up.

I laughed to myself as I thought what if I was Peter and he a modern day man reading about me and learning from me. I can certainly see myself saying "no Jesus, you will never wash my feet" then upon hearing the words of Jesus "If I do not wash you, you have no share with me". Then Peter "Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and head!" All or nothing! I hear the words of my sweet mother "Tina, you are so dramatic!" Something I heard more than a few times in my youth.

Who can overlook his passion as he drew his sword and sliced the ear off of the high priest's servant. There were many soldiers present, perhaps hundreds. Peter was prepared to fight. His courage was misplaced. It was not what his Lord needed from him at the time. Had Jesus not rebuked him, he most certainly would have been killed.

All of  Peter's good intentions outlined in scripture are usually overshadowed by the denial of his Lord and savior. Three times, as Jesus foretold " "Will you lay down your life for me? Truly, truly I say to you, the rooster will not crow till you have denied me three times".

Once again Peter allowed fear to get a grip on him as he looked to his circumstances. Jesus had been arrested, led away and was in the midst of the pharisees suffering false accusations, humiliation and beatings. John 18:15,16 Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple. Since that disciple was known to the high priest, he entered with Jesus into the court of the high priest, but Peter stood outside at the door. He followed Jesus, but at a safe distance.

It was here that he first denies Jesus. He was so gripped in fear that even a lowly servant girl caused him to deny the Lord. The passion that had fueled his courage in brandishing a sword in the face of roman soldiers had disappeared. Now he was consumed with self preservation and fear.

the third denial

Luke 22:60-62 
But Peter said, "Man, I do not know what you are talking about". And immediately while he was still speaking the rooster crow. And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the saying of the Lord, how he had said to him "Before the rooster crows today, you will deny me three times" And he went out and wept bitterly.

No matter how many times I read these passages I still feel such a heaviness in my heart for Peter. Too many times I have let my emotions run amok while cowering against the waves. I have made decisions based on my feelings in the moment rather than look to Jesus for direction and strength. I can only imagine the heartache Peter felt as he looked into the eyes of his friend, his Savior and Lord knowing he had failed him.

Peter's bitter tears paved the way of repentance and restoration. Peter continued to follow after Jesus. After the resurrection Jesus appeared to the disciples, in the book of John there is an account of Peter "throwing himself into the sea" to go after Jesus. Yes, once again I can see myself here!

Peter went on to lead many people, thousands to the Lord. He lived by the power of the Holy Spirit. This is the Peter I want to be like. It is good to know he continued and that God helped him to harness all that fervor and passion for good.

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